Name Scientific: Allocyttus niger,
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 0.5–1kg, up to 2kg
Attributes Length: 30–40cm
Black oreo are found only in the Southern Hemisphere. They are a deepwater species, living at depths between 600 and 1200 metres. In New Zealand Black oreo are found along the south of the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of the South Island, and on the Campbell Plateau. They form schools near pinnacles and feed on crustaceans, fish, and squid.
They have a very dark brown body with blackish fins and small, firm scales that cannot be dislodged. The body is wide and angular and is dominated by a very large, green eye.
Black oreo belong to the Oreosomatidae family (oreos). They are not members of the Zeidae family (true dories) despite their market name. Spiky oreo (Neocyttus rhomboidalis) is a related species. They are paler than Black oreo and have greyish fins. They are smaller in size (around 35 centimetres) and are found in flatter, shallower grounds than Black oreo. Spiky oreo are not as common as Black oreo, and are not a preferred commercial catch.
Spawning occurs from late October to December, particularly on the south Chatham Rise. They are thought to be slow growing and to live to at least 100 years.
Commercial fisheries occur for black and smooth oreo. The Chatham Rise is the main fishing area; other fisheries occur off Southland on the east coast of the South Island and on the Pukaki Rise, Macquarie Ridge and Bounty Plateau. On the western Chatham Rise, catch rates of black oreos decreased in the 80s and 90s but have been stable since the early 2000s; an assessment of smooth oreos in this area indicated an increase in abundance since the turn of the century with the stock level around the target. For the western Chatham Rise black oreo CPUE (catch per unit effort) has also recently stabilised while smooth oreo abundance has steadily decreased but is currently assessed as being at target levels.
Did You Know
Black oreo are thought to grow slowly and to live for over 100 years - one of the world's longest-lived fish.
Black oreo has firm and white small fillets that do not flake easily and hold together on cooking. It can be baked; fried; marinated; poached; or made into sushi/eaten raw.
Oreos are available, whole and fillets in, fresh and frozen. When buying whole oreo dory, always check the... EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen When buying oreo dory fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.